Downing Street is facing calls to publish a transcript of a conversation in which Tony Blair allegedly persuaded George Bush to drop plans to bomb Arab TV station Al-Jazeera.
According to reports, in a memo Bush said he wanted to attack the TV station in Qatar - a key Middle East ally of the west.
And it allegedly details how Mr Blair argued against an attack on the station's buildings in the capital city of Doha, saying it would lead to retaliation.
Al-Jazeera is well-known for broadcasting videos from Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda followers, a policy which his angered the Bush administration.
The transcript allegedly records a conversation during Mr Blair's visit to the White House on April 16 last year, in the wake of a failed attempt to root out insurgents in the city of Fallujah, in which 30 US Marines died.
Former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle - a leading Labour opponent of the Iraq War - called for the document to be made public.
"I believe that Downing Street ought to publish this memo in the interests of transparency, given that much of the detail appears to be in the public domain," he told the Press Association.
"I think they ought to clarify what exactly happened on this occasion."
A Downing Street spokesman said: "We have got nothing to say about this story. We don't comment on leaked documents."
I don't understand what the big deal is here. Bush wanted to bomb a radio station (alledgedly), and after discussing it with Blair, was talked out of it. What's the point?
Seems to me you should be applauding Bush for talking this over and considering the advice of others before acting on his own.
If in fact Bush was kidding,why is the British government going after the civil servant who leaked the existence of a Downing Street memo on this subject?
Security concerns are important.
I don't care if the guy leaked the menu at Tony Blair's dinner party, he must be caught and removed from a position of responsibility because obviously he can't trusted.
Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh is accused of passing the memo to Leo O'Connor, who formerly worked for former British MP Tony Clarke. Both Mr. Keogh and Mr. O'Connor are scheduled to appear at London's Bow Street Magistrates Court next week.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Mr. Keogh was charged with an offence under Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act relating to "a damaging disclosure" by a servant of the Crown of information relating to international relations or information obtained from a state other than the United Kingdom.
Mr. O'Connor was charged under section 5, which relates to receiving and disclosing illegally disclosed information.
Peter Kilfoyle, a former defence minister in Mr. Blair's government, called for the document to be made public.
"I think they ought to clarify what exactly happened on this occasion," he said. "If it was the case that President Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera in what is after all a friendly country, it speaks volumes, and it raises questions about subsequent attacks that took place on the press that wasn't embedded with coalition forces."
Sir Menzies Campbell, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Liberal Democrats, said that, if true, the memo was worrying.
"If true, then this underlines the desperation of the Bush administration as events in Iraq began to spiral out of control," he said. "On this occasion, the Prime Minister may have been successful in averting political disaster, but it shows how dangerous his relationship with President Bush has been."
And that is what I am looking for Freeduck. Cutting and pasting an article is fine, but it sure would be nice if the poster would tell us the significance of the article.
I would agree that it does lend credence to claims that the other offices were not bombed accidently.
Journalists' perils in Iraq highlighted
Study says US forces have killed up to 13
By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff | November 18, 2005
WASHINGTON -- US military forces in Iraq have killed as many as 13 journalists since the US invasion in 2003, and are currently holding five journalists in detention without charges, press freedom organizations said yesterday.
The groups said Americans are second only to the insurgent forces in killing journalists, raising deadly obstacles for reporters who are trying to do their jobs and inform the public about events in Iraq.